If you can’t judge a book by its cover, then can you judge it by its title?
I am terrible at coming up with titles for my books. I usually don’t. My editor is the one who has titled all but a few of my books.
The other day I was looking at a bestseller list and it got me thinking about the kind of titles that would make me buy the book without even knowing what was inside it.
I love titles that evoke a feeling like:
The Fault in Our Stars
Own the Wind
A Week in Winter
Light in the Shadows
Other titles are instantly ominous like:
You Don’t Want to Know
No Way Back
To Die For
Now You See Her
And Then She Fell
One-word titles are really popular right now apparently since all five books in my Beartooth, Montana series will have a single-word title. Unforgiven, Redemption, Forsaken, Atonement, Mercy.
They won’t be alone. On the bestseller list there was:
I wondered if there was a word that hasn’t been used for a title so I went to Amazon and began experimenting by trying to find all one-word titles that began with “For”:
I finally had to quit.
I know some writers who spend hours coming up with their titles. I know others who are like me and few of their choices ever make the cover. I admire writers who are good at great titles. It gives me a headache.
They say there are only so many plots so they get used over and over again. Apparently the same can be said of book titles. If you’ve thought of a word, there is a good chance it’s been used as a book title – often many times.
My very first book was titled Odd Man Out. I even had the heroine on the cover with both men. The title really fit the book, which I think is fairly rare. I’ve had some I’ve liked a lot less since. My most genetic was A Woman With a Mystery, though that did pretty well cover it.
So how important is a title? Would you still buy a book with a bad title? Or does a cheesy, bad title ruin it for you?